As a patient engagement solution, healthcare portals are nothing new. But for healthcare providers, getting patients to use their portals hasn’t been easy. Now it looks like portal use is on the rise and with that a hope of greater patient engagement.
A recent CDW survey of 200 patients and providers has shown a jump in both portal use and patient engagement. According to the survey, 70% of patients reported being more engaged in their healthcare this year (up 23% from last year).
Why the dramatic increase? A large part is because providers are taking a greater interest in patient engagement and communicating as much to their patients:
- 71% say patient engagement is a top priority (up 10%)
- 80% are working on making healthcare records more accessible (up 13%)
This extra attention is not lost on patients. They are feeling more involved in their healthcare and the patient portal is a big driver. The study points to 81% of providers crediting the portal use for patients’ high engagement.
An amazing 98% of patients can access a portal and 62% of patients are using the portal more today than two years ago.
While portal usage may be currently driving this increase in patient engagement, other technology is not far behind. According to the survey:
- 83% of patients like to use mobile apps
- 77% use text messaging
- 75% are comfortable using online chats
- 69% are comfortable with video chats
Efforts to engage patients are ongoing. Leveraging different IT platforms will only keep the momentum going.
It’s great to see healthcare providers trying to get patients more involved in their own well being. And while portals are a great first step, many find having to log in to multiple portals to be something of a hassle, since only by going to multiple portals can a person get the full picture of their health. There needs to be a move to a centralized platform, such as Microsoft HealthVault or the like, in order to give patients the “one-stop shopping” that they desire.
On one hand, a similar service, Google Health, was shut down at the end of 2012 due to a lack of uptake. But given the increasing comfort level amongst the general population in using mobile devices to manage their health, it seems the time is now right for such a service to become mainstream. Sure, this is sensitive information that will cause outcries of “Privacy!” But given how many other industries have embraced the future despite privacy issues (if the banking industry can do it, pretty much any industry can) it would be a real shame if healthcare didn’t follow suit.